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Dogs Understand What We Say… And How We Say It

Good boy?

Dogs Understand What We Say… And How We Say It Image: Wilfred/SBS

Best watch what you say around your pet pooch – European researchers have discovered dogs understand both our tone of voice and the kind of words we use.

In a study published in Science, research fellow Attila Andics from Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest explains dogs will respond to both how a word “sounds” and how a word is said, in a very similar way to how the human brain operates, the New York Times reports.

“Both what we say and how we say it matters to dogs,” Andics said.

According to findings, the left hemisphere of a dog’s brain will respond to “meaning”, while the right hemisphere latches on to “analyse intonation” or “the emotional content of a said”.

Andics added that MRI scans showed that dogs responded well when owners used a combination of both intonation and praising words.

"This shows that dogs not only separate what we say from how we say it, but also that they can combine the two for a correct interpretation of what those words really meant," he said.